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November 07, 2006



OK, I confess: I, language stickler, did not get this one correctly.

Like my grandmother always said:
Learn something new every day. Then get drunk.


In college, I once wrote a paper, and my prof's only comment on the entire thing was, "It's such a pleasure to see 'supersede' spelled correctly."

It's the only word in the English language that ends with "-sede."

Library Lady

I had one of these guys in the library recently. He asked about a story he remembered from his childhood he couldn't locate.

I found it 5 minutes after he left. It was obscure, but not so obscure that someone with some basic searching knowledge couldn't find with Google!

I hope these guys really know computer hardware. Because obviously they don't know much about software!


Geeks can't necessarily spell perfectly--but neither did Einstein, according to what I've read.


They're just figuring no one knows how to spell anymore.


Einstein probably didn't take out two-page ads in national magazines with 24-point typos! ;-)


I'm confused. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary lists "supercedes" as a variant on "supersedes," and my spell check doesn't catch it. Does "variant" actually mean "word people have spelled incorrectly so many times we've decided to give in and accept it"?


Yes, MW lists variants as they start to become accepted -- "supercede" is likely to become the accepted spelling just because it's (mis)used so often. There are other words like this (for example, miniscule for minuscule). Our language is evolving (think of thee/thine/thou/thy, which were used in our grandparents' lifetime, but I don't have to like it! ;-) Here's my favorite verse from Alexander Pope:

In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold
Alike fantastic, if too new, or old
Be not the first by whom the new are tried
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

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